Mubarak Trial Adjourned Till Sept 5, No More Live Telecast
Cairo, Aug 15: The historic trial of Egypt's fallen president Hosni Mubarak was today adjourned till September 5 after the ailing former strongman returned to court wheeled on a stretcher to answer charges of ordering the killing of over 800 anti-regime protesters, as his followers and opponents scuffled in the streets outside.
In another dramatic day at the trial that has gripped the Arab world, the court ruled that the proceedings will no longer be telecast live.
Judge Ahmed Refaat also decided to merge Mubarak's trial will now be merged with that of ex-interior minister Habib al-Adli, a step welcomed by lawyers for the families of protesters killed in the uprising.
Mubarak, 83, faces death penalty if found guilty of ordering the killing of around 800 pro-democracy protesters. He is also facing corruption charges along with his sons Alaa and Gamal, both of whom were also present in the case in prison uniform.
As the toppled leader made his second appearance in court, scuffles broke out outside the court house between the former president's supporters and antagonists.
“Hosni Mubarak is not Saddam” and “He is Egyptian until death” read the placards as a number of his supporters gathered outside the court guarded by hundreds of riot policemen.
Mubarak, wearing a navy blue sports sweater, appeared in a caged defendant's box and answered “present” when trial judge Refaat called his name. He was earlier flown in to the court in a military helicopter from a Cairo hospital. He was also seen exchanging words with his sons during the proceedings.
The proceedings were often unruly and chaotic as a large number of prosecution lawyers raised their points. The judge ordered the merger of the trials of Mubarak and al Adli, and announced that live TV coverage would end “in the interest of the public” while adjourning the case to September 5.
The trial of Adli on charges of killing nearly 800 demonstrators during the uprising had resumed yesterday. He has already been sentenced to 12 years in prison for money-laundering.
Defence lawyers have also demanded that Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, who was Mubarak's defence minister for two decades, and now leads the military council, testify over the former president's role in suppressing the uprising.
Mubarak was ousted in a massive uprising against his 30 year long regime in February following which the military took up the role of a caretaker government to make way for democratic elections in the country. PTI